After my long walk on the beach, I drove back to Manteo and browsed through shops near Roanoke Island Festival Park before making arrangements with Sucelia Fahey to meet at the Outer Banks Visitors Center. She’d gone home and brought along photos of her Hassell grandparents and great grandparents from Tyrrell County, arranged in a weathered window frame. I remembered that somewhere in my family tree, someone married a Hassell. In the month ahead, I hope to parse out any possible relatedness. She was so very nice to share them, and meeting Sucelia at a lunch counter – like most of what happened on this trip – was serendipitous.
The sun was out, it was still early afternoon, and I realized I had time to drive west from Manteo on Rt 64 to Jamison, and buy peanuts to bring back to Philly. And buy I did – blister fried, French fried, salted in the shell, two kinds of peanut butter, trail mix -- and peanut ice cream for the road! It’s good to know I can reorder from Mackey’s Ferry Peanuts, because the share that I kept for myself is dwindling. Fast.
Once again, I drove by Washington County locations where my mother and her family once lived, without stopping. Nothing about the area around Roper looked familiar after more than 40 years. For some reason, it seemed more foreign to me than Tyrrell County, and less navigable.
Exploring Washington County will be on my agenda for the next trip Down Home.